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A settlement is reached with Bell Helicopter following complaint

Jan 18, 2008, Montréal - An agreement has been signed by Bell Helicopter and a complainant to the QHRC following a complaint of discrimination in relation to ITAR.


January 18, 2008
By Corrie


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Jan 18, 2008, Montréal – An agreement has been signed by Bell Helicopter and the complainant following a complaint of discrimination filed with the Commission des
droits de la personne et des droits de la jeunesse in relation to the
application of the United States’ International Traffic in Arms
Regulations (ITAR).

The complainant alleged that he had been refused an internship with the company because of the
application of the US regulations, which require Canadian and Québec
companies that manufacture military equipment and have contracts with
US companies to exclude workers born in certain countries from specific
jobs, even if they hold Canadian citizenship.

Exclusion based on place of birth

The complainant, who was born in Haiti but has held Canadian
citizenship for almost 30 years, applied for an internship with Bell
Helicopter as part of a training program. His application was accepted,
along with that of 14 other students, but when he began his internship
he was notified that his place of birth, Haiti, disqualified him from
continuing under the ITAR rules.

The agreement, the details of which remain confidential, follows a
claim for damages made by the complainant as a result of his exclusion,
which was considered discriminatory by the Commission following an
investigation. Since the matter has been settled to the satisfaction of
the complainant, the Commission will cease to act in this specific case.

Opposition to discriminatory rules

The Commission reiterates its opposition to the application of the ITAR
rules in Québec because of their discriminatory impact. It has
conducted a legal analysis of the rules and concluded that they include
requirements that are inconsistent with the Québec Charter of Human
Rights and Freedoms.

More specifically, they infringe the right to equality without
discrimination based on ethnic or national origin. “We can no longer
accept that companies established in Québec submit to foreign rules
that infringe on the values and rights of citizens as recognized by the
National Assembly,” says Gaétan Cousineau, the president of the
Commission.

The Commission does not challenge the need for military equipment
manufacturers to establish security rules. However, security controls
must be designed and applied in a way that is not based on the ethnic
or national origin of the workers concerned.

The Commission stated its position in letters to the federal and
provincial governments in July 2007, urging the governments to take
action to prevent American rules from causing discrimination in Québec.

The Commission is following the political developments in this matter
attentively. It also points out that any person who believes that his
or her rights have been infringed by the application of the ITAR rules
may rely on the services of the Commission.


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